Irish Whiskey Reviews
To start, what exactly Irish Whiskey? Simply, Irish Whiskey is whiskey made on the island of Ireland. The word ‘whiskey’ (or whisky) comes from the Irish (or ‘Gaelic’) uisce beatha, meaning water of life. These Irish Whiskey Reviews will highlight the qualities and characteristics of some of the most outstanding Irish Whiskeys.
Please appraise these fine whiskeys and make a selection for delivery to your door
Ireland produces four types of whiskey in total including malt, grain, blended, and pot still. Of those, only pot still is truly unique to Ireland.
Pot Still Whiskey: By Irish law pot still whiskey must contain a minimum of 30 percent each malted and unmalted barley in its mash bill. Up to 5 percent of other cereals such as oats and rye are also permitted. As the name suggests, this style is distilled in pots stills. Pot still must age for a minimum of three years in oak before release.
Malt: Irish Single Malt whiskey is aged in oak for at least three years, and must be distilled from a mash of nothing other than malted barley at a single distillery.
Grain: Grain Irish whiskey is made using no more than 30% malted barley in combination with other whole unmalted cereals including usually corn, wheat, or barley and is distilled in column stills.
Blended: is the product of blending different types of whiskeys and sometimes also neutral grain spirits, colorings, and flavorings. It is generally the product of mixing one or more higher-quality straight or single malt whiskey with less expensive spirits and other ingredients.
The popular topics in Irish whiskey these days are cask finishing, single malts, and single pot still whiskey. These are not new to the Irish whiskey industry, but the Irish distilleries are reinvigorating the category by releasing whiskey in these styles.
Climate is Important to be Irish Whiskey
One of the most important ingredients in Irish whiskey is the climate. The climate in Ireland differs from the traditional whiskey producing areas of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Scotland. The maturation process in these different climates makes these whiskeys what they are. This unique character makes Irish whiskey appealing to drinkers of all types. The hot topics in Irish whiskey these days are cask finishing, single malts, and single pot still whiskey. These unique characters make Irish whiskey appealing to drinkers of all types. In this review we would like to highlight some excellent Irish whiskeys and their renowned characteristics.
Kilbeggan Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Distillery: Kilbeggan Distillery
Avg Price: $45.00
Kilbeggan has a long and storied history dating back all the way to 1757 but has had many up and downs over the years. By 2010, the distillery was once again fully operational. The Kilbeggan Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey is distilled and matured on site. Kilbeggan Single Pot Still has a mash bill that includes 2.5 percent oats, imparting this fruity and light whiskey with a slight creamy texture and flavor. The limited release is bottled at 86 proof.
Nice and dry with a lot of cereal. Grain and malt right away, with a creamy dairy aspect. Orange blossom, apricot and green apple. Touch of spice and almond. Plenty of lemon and yogurt with toasted nuts and with a honey sweetness. A bit of green tea and a tannic dryness, which leads to a calm and collected finish.
Glendalough Pot Still, 17 Year Old, and 25 Year Old
Distillery: Cooley Distillery
Proof: 86, 92, and 92
Avg Price: $60.00, $300.00, and $500.00
Glendalough has been releasing excellently sourced whiskeys from the Cooley Distillery for the last few years. A Pot Still whiskey aged in ex-bourbon barrels for three years, before being finished in virgin Irish oak for a year. A 17-year-old single malt that spent 15 years aging in first-fill bourbon casks, then another two in Japanese oak to give it aromatic flavors of sandalwood and spice. Three thousand bottles are available here in the U.S. Finally, there is a 25-year-old single malt consisting of liquid matured in ex-bourbon barrels for 15 years and Oloroso sherry casks for 10 years, with a finish in virgin Irish oak for three months.
Glendalough Pot Still Irish Whiskey This new pot still whiskey is matured in bourbon casks, before being matured for up to a year in virgin oak from Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains. The nose exudes youth, punchy and aggressive with notes of burnt rubber, creosote, and torched wood; the fruit and honey notes of classic Irish whiskey are absent. The palate focuses on aggressive wood notes and cloves before giving a modest smokiness.
be mistaken for a heavily-sherried Scotch, quite malty and aggressive with notes of spice, and also notes of dried figs and a reprise of that wet, wine sherry character.
Glendalough Single Malt Irish Whiskey 17 Years Old – 15 years in a bourbon cask, followed by 2 years in Japanese mizunara oak. The nose is rich and enticing, with notes of maple, honey, and stewed fruit. On the palate, the same sweet elements dominate with lots of honey. There is a hint of oak, and a finish that sees some coconut and Eastern spices.
Glendalough Single Malt Irish Whiskey 25 Years Old – This whiskey is aged in bourbon casks, then finished in oloroso sherry casks followed by a final incubation in virgin Irish oak. This whiskey spends most of its 25 years in sherry casks. The nose has that nutty, orange-oily note that is the inevitable, natural result of time in the sherry barrel. On the palate, the whiskey could
Knappogue Castle Irish Whiskey’s Marchesi di Barolo Cask
Distillery: Knappogue Castle
Avg Cost: $85.00
The Knappogue Castle Cask Finish Series is a range of single malts finished in the finest wine casks. The Marchesi di Barolo limited release is matured in bourbon barrels for a minimum of 12 years, then further aged in casks from the renowned Barolo Winery.
This finish gives the fruity whiskey notes of berry, ripe apple, and white pepper, and is a testament to the effects of carefully thought-out barrel finishing.
Baked plum desserts, sweet cherry, star anise, and dark vanilla with an enticing freshly toasted spiciness. Caramel, plum, pomegranate, shift into a concentrated fruitiness as allspice and pepper well up, yielding a sweet core of graham crackers, marshmallows, and creamy vanilla, with hints of chocolate. Fruit and throbbing spices characterize the finish on this laudable example of wine finishing.
J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey The Chosen
Avg Price: $7,780.00
J.J. Corry is not a distillery, but the company sources newly made spirits from different distilleries and then matures these in J.J. Corry’s warehouse. In their role as the leading modern Irish Whiskey Bonder, J.J. Corry has curated a library of Irish Whiskey flavors, from both traditional and contemporary distilleries around Ireland. Seeking out only the rarest stocks of mature whiskey, they closely monitor the individual flavor evolution of each cask, carefully deciding the destiny of all of their whiskeys. The Chosen, distilled in 1991, is a 27-year-old single malt that was released last year at its pinnacle of maturation as a luxury expression. The Chosen is presented in an elaborate crystal decanter designed by J. Hill’s Standard and a wood cabinet from John Galvin Design.
Rich and superbly elegant with notes of toffee, dried mango, and chestnut. This palate of intensely ripe fruits is complimented by incense and a luscious oily texture. The finish is long with just a touch of smoke. The Single Malt Irish Whiskey is bottled at cask strength at 52%.
Jameson Irish Whiskey
Distillery: Jameson Distillery
Avg Price: $30.00
Jameson Irish whiskey is a blend of the best pot still and fine grain whiskeys and is triple distilled making it exceptionally smooth. It is triple distilled, according to a tradition started in 1780 with John Jameson, to give Jameson whiskey its signature smoothness. Finally, this whiskey is oak casks for a minimum of 4 years.
give Jameson whiskey its signature smoothness. Finally, whiskey is oak casks for a minimum of 4 years.
The perfect balance of spicy, nutty and vanilla notes with hints of sweet sherry and of course exceptional smoothness. Also incorporating a light floral fragrance, peppered with spicy wood and honey.
The Tyrconnell 16 Year Old Oloroso & Moscatel Cask Finish
Distillery: Cooley Distillery
Avg Price: $100.00
The Tyrconnell is double distilled 16-year-old single malt whiskey finished in Oloroso and Moscatel casks. The whiskey was matured for 16 years in ex-bourbon barrels before spending an undisclosed amount of time in wine casks from the Andalucía region of Spain. These casks were double seasoned, first with Oloroso sherry and then with Moscatel wine. The oak paired with the Oloroso makes this Irish whiskey mouth-puckering dry. The sweetness of the Moscatel comes through, however, it turns and sours.
Three layers of fruit, flower, and grain make up the aroma with some baking spices present. At the forefront is apple and traces of golden raisin from the sherries. In the middle is a strong rosehip perfume. The breath finishes with apple and oak. Overall, it is light as a typical Irish whiskey.
The Irishman Vintage Cask 2019 Edition
Distillery: Walsh Distillery
Avg Price: $140.00
This is Walsh Whiskey’s 11th edition of The Irishman Vintage Cask since the series began in 2008. This whiskey is a blend of single pot still and single malt, but it was aged entirely in first-fill bourbon barrels and bottled at 108 proof. This year’s vintage is limited to 2,346 bottles worldwide. The Irishman Vintage Cask 2019 is available on a very limited basis in just 7 countries including Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain & Northern Ireland, and the USA.
Milk chocolate, caramel, a medley of summer fruits, and cracked black pepper with notes of cinnamon, clove, and sweet vanilla blossom.
Dingle Single Malt Whiskey, Batch No. 4
Distillery: Dingle Distillery
Avg Price: $100.00
In their desire to create a smooth and flavorful Irish whiskey, the Dingle Distillery uses three hand-crafted copper pots stills to create a smooth and flavorful beverage. The whiskey batches are then aged in a mix of bourbon barrels, PX and Oloroso sherry, and port casks before being blended together. Dingle is one of the few newer Irish distilleries that has always distilled its whiskey instead of sourcing, and the results are consistently good. All the whiskey was triple-distilled at the Dingle Distillery located in Dingle in Co. Kerry on the west coast of Ireland.
It’s light and fruity on the nose, with a pleasing hint of dried fruit and nutmeg on the palate. A slight hint of vanilla, with a hint of the sherry. Very smooth. The smokiness from the oak bourbon barrels is very evident, followed by a mix of honey and vanilla, with a touch of apricot.
Powers Irish Whiskey
Distillery: Middleton distillery
Avg Price: $35.00.00
Powers Irish Whiskey was first produced in 1791 by James Power. Powers Gold Label is the best-selling whiskey in Ireland. Powers Signature Series is a single pot still Whiskey where intensity, complexity, and depth coming together. Powers Gold Label is cut from the heart of the distillate it’s a blend of 70% Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey and sweet Grain Whiskey. A tight cut means more top and tail gets thrown away than any other Irish whiskey. Powers Gold label Whiskey is then left to mature in selected American oak casks, this is where the spicy, bold character takes hold.
Bright and heavy aromas of toasted rye, fresh butter, green pepper and warm biscuits. Starts off peppery in the mouth with notes of cardamom, green apple and spiced earth. Warm, deep finish.
Teeling Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Distillery: Teeling Distillery
Avg Price: $65.00
Teeling Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey is crafted using a uniquely Irish mash bill consisting of 50% malted and 50% unmalted barley that has been triple distilled and matured in a combination of American Virgin Oak, Bourbon, and Sherry casks.
A traditional Dublin recipe, where the sweet biscuit element of the malted barley blends effortlessly with the spice and cream elements of the unmalted spring barley.
There are hints of hibiscus flowers, honeycomb, white grape, grapefruit & citrus. Also, hints of lychee, along with white pepper, warm, roasted peaches and baked biscuits. This is all wrapped up with a dry finish, with notes of spice, roasted almonds and maple sugar lingering in the mouth.
Distillery: Bushmills, licensed to distill 1608
Avg Price: $40.00 – $200.00
Granted a license to distill in 1608, Bushmills is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world.
Bushmills Original: Combining our pure single malt whiskey and a lighter grain whiskey, to produce a smooth warming taste.
Bushmills Black Bush: Irish Whiskey combines an exceptionally high amount of malt whiskey married with a lighter grain whiskey, and then matured in former Oloroso Sherry and Bourbon casks. This unique recipe means Black Bush has rich, fruity notes and a deep intense character, balanced by an incredibly unique smoothness.
RED BUSH is aged in first-fill bourbon barrels for an intense bourbon finish, combined with the signature smoothness of triple-distilled Irish whiskey. RED BUSH is a well-rounded whiskey that is as versatile as it is complex.
Bushmills Single Malt Whiskey 10, 16 and 21 year old is triple distilled from 100% malted barley and matured for a minimum of 10 years in former Sherry casks and bourbon-seasoned casks which gives it its honey, vanilla and milk chocolate aroma.
Dark Chocolate, Toffee, nuts and raisins with hints of honey and vanilla
Redbreast Small Batch
The Distillery: New Middleton
Proof: 114 – 118
Avg. Price: $100.00
Redbreast Irish Whiskey is a highly respected brand that has age statements of 12, 15, and 21 years in its core lineup, as well as cask strength and sherry cask-finished versions. It’s a single pot still whiskey, which means that it’s made from a mash bill of malted and unmalted barley and distilled in a pot still instead of a column still at one distillery.
Redbreast Small Batch, a limited edition release consisting of four different expressions that were matured for a minimum of 14 years (there is no age statement on the label, however). It is bottled at cask strength, ranging from about 57 to 59 percent ABV, depending on the batch. This is a one-time release. The Small Batch is different from the original with the marrying together whiskey to make four batches, each of which they describe as offering different flavors while still staying true to the character that defines Redbreast. The object was to make a whiskey that was reflective of Redbreast, but with each batch emphasizing different flavor profiles.
Some whiskey used was aged in bourbon barrels, and some in sherry casks, before being married together in these different formulations with each batch being made up of somewhere between 22 and 27 barrels.
Batch A: A wood is driven with sweet vanilla notes, citrus fruit, and mild sherry undertones and with 58.6% ABV. This batch was meant to emphasize flavors derived from bourbon barrel maturation.
Batch B: This added depth from sherry wine cask influence, including more dried fruits and honey sweetness with 57.2% ABV. This batch was meant to emphasize sherry cask maturation without letting it dominate the palate.
Batch C: This batch is more exotic with fruit notes and rich toasted wood characteristics at 59.1% ABV. This batch was meant to focus on the orchard and tropical fruit notes of the whiskey.
Batch D: A rich, dried fruit quality such as raisins and figs, along with dark berry fruits with 58.9% ABV. This batch was meant to emphasize the heavy sherry cask component